Africa

Amplats to transfer 51% of Zimbabwe mine to locals

Nelson Banya

Amplats has agreed to transfer majority of its Unki mine in Zimbabwe to locals, following pressure from President Robert Mugabe's government.

Amplats has agreed to transfer majority of its Unki mine in Zimbabwe to locals, following pressure from President Robert Mugabe's government. (AFP)

Amplats and the government said in a joint statement the transaction values the 51 percent stake at $142.8-million. A state fund will take 21% of the mine with employees, a community trust and unnamed local investors taking 10% each, they said.

The deal will be funded through the dividends due to the new local shareholders for the next 10 years.

Harare is championing a controversial law requiring foreign-owned firms, mostly mines and banks, to surrender majority stakes in their Zimbabwean operations to local blacks.

Earlier this year, world No 2 producer Impala Platinum bowed to Zimbabwe's pressure to surrender a 51% stake in its Zimplats unit to local black investors.

Zimbabwe, with the largest known platinum deposits in the world after South Africa, is seen as a growth area for the sector. But analysts say the 51% local ownership requirement diminishes the country's attraction as an investment destination.

Zimbabwe says its empowerment policy seeks to redress the racial inequities of past colonial rule, but the government's seizure of white-owned farms over the last decade has destroyed commercial agriculture in what was once described as a regional bread basket. – Reuters

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